Published On: Fri, Sep 30th, 2016

Understanding and Investing in DJ Lighting

Once you have your core sound system set up, the next key to elevating your performance and getting booked for larger gigs in more venues is your lighting system. Depending on what you do, you might want to specialize in one particular style. That way, you can choose a couple of simple layouts that elevate your show with a prudent investment. Of course, expanding your lighting to match your sound is also a goal, so as you grow, you should look to add in a few extras like moving lights, additional colors, or even extra gear that allows you to design versatile dance floor lightingexperiences that fit the individual venues you work in.

DJ Lighting

Understanding the 3 Primary Types of Lighting

When it comes to delivering an atmosphere, lighting is huge. For DJs, there are three fundamental techniques. Ideally, you want the equipment to be able to switch between them and to vary up your lighting colors and patterns of movement. If you can only afford to invest in a static rig with one or two layout options, that’s a good place to start, and mobile lighting units can be added to the system later as your funding for more equipment grows.

The three types of lighting are:

Effects: Effect lighting involves using a combination of outward-facing lights and filters to create atmospheric effects in the room. This includes traditional favorites like strobe lighting, as well as gel projections and a variety of other moves.

Wash: Wash lighting is used to light the walls and floor, using the colors and shapes of the rig’s arrangements to establish the boundaries and surfaces in the venue. It provides a kind of lighting that plays well in dance clubs and other venues where the dance floor may not have clear physical boundaries separating it from the rest of the space.

Uplighting: This is the traditional “spotlight-in-the-sky” style lighting you often see in the background of televised concerts and musical variety shows, and when set into motion, they light up the venue with cheerful brightness and elevate the mood of the space in ways the others don’t often achieve.

Investing in Lighting Setups

To get yourself started with DJ lighting, it’s really a good idea to focus on having a robust setup that makes one of these effects the star, and then folding in extra pieces and upgrading your light controls until you have the balance of versatility and features you’re looking for. To understand where you should start, it’s important to reflect on the kinds of gigs you get. If you DJ a lot of dances, weddings, and other indoor events with traditional dance floors, your audience is going to expect a good combination of uplighting and effects lighting. If on the other hand, you play in dance halls, clubs, and other venues that cater to a scene, then designing a good wash lighting system that adapts to different venues might serve your interests more.

In the end, you want to make sure your lighting is enough to cover the venue, provide for a variety of different mood changes throughout the evening, and balance out the sound in a parallel way. Overdoing your lighting means accidentally overloading your fans. But, it’s also important to remember that without the right amount of control over the room and the mood, it’s difficult to get people to move with you when the mode of the music shifts.